Best of Me (M/L,Mature) (Complete)

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Best of Me (M/L,Mature) (Complete)

Post by sweetbrowneyes » Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:55 am

Winner Round 11

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Title:Best of Me
Author: Sweetbrowneyes a.k.a Tiffany
Category: M/L
Rating: Mature
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine but the story idea.
Summary:Okay, okay, I've done one of these before, but I can't get enough of the concept of Max and Liz being best friends. They make great friends and even better lovers :wink: :twisted:
A/N: This story is written in a different format than my other stories. I'm in a writing runt right now and I thought it'd help if I tried something different. I've always admired authors that wrote in this style. Also, the entire story won't be as depressing as the first part makes it out to be lol

And thanks to everyone who gave me some imput over on the Sneak Peek at Chronicles. :D

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Banner by Behrsgirl77. Thanks sweetie!

Part 1

He’s standing on the other side when I open the door.

“Max?”

It’s four in the morning. It’s raining. And his eyes are bloodshot.

“He didn’t make it.”

My nightshirt becomes drenched when he falls against me.

I almost fall to the floor under his weight.

I hold both of us up.

It’s my job as the best friend.

“I’m sorry, baby.”

I bite back my tears as his drop against my neck.

It was his father.

It’s his time to grieve.

I’ll get my time later.

He shivers in my iron grip.

I worry and step back.

His eyes are tired. Vulnerable, open to every emotion.

It’s unusual for him.

To everyone but me.

He follows without question when I tug his hand.

It’s a deep running trust.

My room is my comfort zone. I hope it brings him some tonight.

How do you soothe the pain of losing a parent?

He’s wet. He’s shivering.

I mean really, teeth clattering shivering.

Can it be that cold in California?

I pull off his jacket.

He watches through heavy tears.

His shirt is next to go. In its absence, I place a dry towel around his shoulders.

His socks and boxers are the only dry things he has on.

I cup his cheeks. I want to tell him that everything’s okay.

I don’t like lying.

I wipe away the tear stains.

New tears replace them.

I leave him to change my shirt.

When I return, I choke up at the sight of him.

Sitting in his boxers and socks a towel dangling on his slumped shoulders. He watches his tears as they fall and collect in a puddle on his thighs.

He draws in a breath. He doesn’t want to be vulnerable, I know.

His attempt to collect himself fails when he sees me.

His sobs tear me up.

It’s rare that he’s moved to tears.

He’s never been in my bed before.

But now, safe in my arms, his head cradled on my chest, I let him grieve.

I rub his back.

I don’t know how to soothe him.

“How can I help?”

His eyes are tired. He looks so worn.

“Be here.”

I’ve never let him down before.

He’s told me that my voice soothes him.

So, I sing to him.

Lay your head on my pillow
Here you can be yourself
No one has to know what you are feeling
No one but me and you

I won't tell your secrets
Your secrets are safe with me
I will keep your secrets
Just think of me as the pages in your diary

And only we know what talked about baby boy
I don't know how you can be driven me so crazy, boy
Baby when you’re in town why don't you come around, boy
Be the loyalty you need you can trust me, boy

I won't tell your secrets
Your secrets are safe with me
I will keep your secrets
Just think of me as the pages in your diary


I don’t stop until I lull him to sleep.

I call Isabel at the hospital.

She already figured he was here.

His sleep isn’t peaceful. I watch over him.

Soon, the sun rises. I’ve lost sleep.

I don’t mind.

He’d do the same for me.

We’re best friends. It’s what we do.

I hope his girlfriend understands that.

TBC…..

Lyrics Alicia Keys "Diary"

Let me know what you think.
Last edited by sweetbrowneyes on Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:12 pm, edited 21 times in total.
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Be at Peace MJ

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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:34 am

Hey everyone. Wow, I never thought that I'd get this kind of reaction. Thanks to everyone for all the feedback.

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Since I have several parts already written for this, RL willing, I'm going to post every Friday until I've finished writing and then I'll do probably twice a week postings. I hope you guys stick with me through this and I hope you enjoy. :wink:

Part 2

I hang up the phone with a sigh.

Call number six.

I know she’s worried. So am I.

It’s only been a few hours. He’ll come when he’s ready. Each time I’ve told her that he needs time.

And each time she wonders why he gets to spend this “time” with me.

We both know it’s because I know him best.

It’s her four months again my lifetime.

She threatened to come over.

I threatened to kick her ass.

She knows I’m not lying. Especially when it comes to Max.

Overprotective is my middle name.

Carrying a tray of food, I step into my room. He’s still sleeping, curled around my pillow.

I stroke back his long hair to reveal his uniquely distinguished ears.

Code for: dumbo ears.

He’d give me the evil eye if he heard that.

His tresses are unruly.

He usually keeps it neatly trimmed, his bangs falling softly over his forehead.

Now, it curls at the base of his neck, his bangs falling softly in his eyes.

It has been for months. Since Phillip was diagnosed with cancer.

Before last night, it was the only sign that he was losing control.

I wake him gently.

After getting his bearings, his face crumbles.

Then his hard, iron control slips into gear.

I smile sadly. “Morning, babe.”

He rolls over. Stretches. “What time is it?”

“Ten before one.” I wince.

“What!?”

He quickly scrambles out of bed, almost knocking over the food I brought.

“Max…”

“Why’d you let me sleep so long?” His frantic eyes search the room for his clothes. “I have… I have to call my mom, Isabel, Megan…”

“I know she’s probably called already.” I watch helplessly as my best friend crumbles. “While she’s beating me to death I have to… God, aunt Rachael doesn’t even know yet… I have to call the rest of the family… his clients… make the arrangements, find a church…”

I grab his arm. “Max...”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Max, stop.”

He stops pacing. “I can’t, Liz. T-There’s so much to do.”

I pull him back to bed. “When’s the last time you’ve eaten anything?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

I give him the death glare. He sighs. “I… I don’t remember.”

I slide the tray of food on his lap.

“Eat.”

He pushes it back. “Liz, I don’t have time for this.”

“Make time,” I growl, “Eat.”

He sighs. And then swallows down the breakfast in less than two minutes.

He’s practically licking the plate. I hold back a smile.

He finds his clothes laying on my dresser. I watch as he slips them on, muttering to himself.

“Max.” He turns to leave. “You’re allowed time to grieve, you know?”

He shifts. He’s uncomfortable talking about things like this. “Liz I don’t have time for that. Besides, that was what last night was for.”

“But Max…”

“I appreciate last night, Liz. But I have to go. I’ll call you later.”

He kisses my cheek and then he’s gone.
************

I don’t see Max again until the funeral several days later.

Sandwiched between his mother, sister and brothers, his eyes look stony.

Megan stands just behind him. Her arm around his waist offers silent comfort.

I watch them all through heavy tears. The eulogy has been read and I turn to the comfort of Maria’s arms.

Phillip Evans was a like a second father to me.

It feels like I’m losing a parent when they lower him to the ground.
**************

It’s been weeks since the funeral.

I’ve just stopped breaking into sobs when I think about it.

Tonight though, everything seems to be working its way back to normal.

“Why couldn’t the man drive over 68?”

“Alex, seriously, if I have to listen to another joke…”

“Come on Liz,” he whines.

“I said no.”

Michael chugs down his beer. He reaches for another.

Why the drunks choose to hang out at my house, I don’t know.

Still it’s comforting.

It’s normal.

“Aw come on Lizzie Lou. Let’em tell ya.” Michael gets a harsh glare for encouraging him.

“Yeah, let me tell ya.”

I ignore him. My attention is caught by the idiot trying to do handstands in the middle of the living room.

“Kyle! What the fuck are you doing?” His feet come dangerously close to hitting my glass coffee table.

He stops spinning and lands on his back. “I’m trying to break dance.”

He looks at me like I’m dumb. I should slap him.

He tries to spin again. I look to Michael, the less drunk of the three. “Help me!” I order.

“Kyle!” he growls as he stumbles over. I quickly realize he’s not going to be much help. “You can’t break dance here.”

“Thank you!” I shriek.

“You have to do it on a smooth surface.”

Forgetting about his joke telling, Alex joins in. “Let’s go into the kitchen!”

“No! No… there will be no break dancing in my kitchen!!”

No one listens to little Lizzie.

It won’t be long before I hear glass breaking.

I answer the sudden knock at the door.

“Oh thank God!” My sister, Tess and Isabel come to the rescue. “I need help. I can’t control them.”

Maria and Tess breeze by me with a short hello. I can smell the alcohol.

“I can’t control them,” Isabel counters.

I hear music blasting from the kitchen.

It’s officially a party.

“Where’s Max?”

I haven’t spoken to him for more than five minutes in weeks.

I miss my best friend.

She shrugs. “I think he and Megan are having problems.”

Of course.

She wants a total commitment. He wants… well he doesn’t know what he wants.

I hear glass breaking.

I knew it.

“I’m sorry, Liz,” Michael says. “I’ll clean it up.”

He pushes the broken dishes into the corner. “There, all clean.”

Fucker.

They’ve pushed the kitchen table aside. Maria and Tess are pouring more drinks. They sing loudly and off key with the music.

Kyle is on his head, Michael holding his feet and helping him spin. Alex is cheering them on, making a sad attempt at the robot.

“Oh man,” Isabel moans, “I’m in love with an idiot.”

Alex staggers over. He smiles goofily.

He slings his arm around Isabel’s shoulders. “Wanna hear a joke?”

I sigh. “Fine.”

“God help me,” Isabel sighs.

She’s heard all his jokes probably a million times.

She has to live with him. I feel bad for her.

“Why couldn’t the man drive over 68?”

“Why?”

“Because at 69 he blows a rod.” He falls over laughing. I can’t help but giggle along with him.

I grab a beer and start drinking.

After all, it’s like they say, if you can’t beat’em, join’em.

TBC……

Be back Friday.
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:55 pm

Hey everyone. I'm back as promised.

Strawberry88
Earth2Mama
LairaBehr4
: Yes, how did you not find this sooner? lol J/K welcome :D
FrenchDreamer: There are 4 Evans siblings. Scroll down a bit to find out who. :)
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: Scroll down to find out who's related to whom. :wink:
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Isabelle!
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: Scroll down for the siblings. :)
keyelee: I was born in Detroit but we moved to Westland when I was like two. Can you believe it's raining in November? What happened to the snow? lol
Alien614: Welcome!
roswell3053
Dreamer<3


From oldest to youngest, Michael, Max, Isabel and Kyle are all siblings and Maria is Liz's older sister. Amy (formerly Deluca) is Tess' mom and Alex is... well he's still Alex lol.

I hope that clears everything up. Enjoy!

Part 3

There are bodies sprawled over my living room and kitchen floor.

I step over them to make my morning coffee.

The steaming liquid soothes me. I settle on the couch for some Saturday morning Rugrats.

I’m 23.

I think I’m still young enough.

No one wakes when the doorbell rings.

I trip over Michael reaching for the door.

“Hey.” It’s Max.

“Hello stranger.”

He slips his hands into his pockets. He rocks on his heels.

He’s nervous.

“Aren’t you gonna invite me in?”

“Ah! See, I would but I don’t let strangers into my house.”

“Come on, Lizzie.”

He pouts. He’s cute but I’m not caving.

“How’d you know my name, stranger? Are you a stalker?”

“Liz…”

“You know, stalker man, you look an awful lot like my best friend.”

He throws his head back in exasperation.

“Okay. I know, I know. I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately.”

I pout. “I had no one to answer my booty calls.”

“Shut up.” He pushes by me. “Whoa! What happened here?”

Obviously he’s found the lifeless bodies of our friends.

“Orgy gone wrong.” I shrug, tugging on his arm. “What finally brings you around?”

“I haven’t seen you in forever. I thought we could hang out.”

“Yay!”

He smiles. “I’ll treat you to breakfast.”

I get changed. We go to Denny’s.

I’d die for their pancakes.

“We have some catching up to do.”

Max is quiet.

He’s usually talkative, around me.

“Remember that guy, Josh that always comes into my studio?”

He nods.

“We went out a week ago.”

He stops beating his toast with his fork.

I gush over my pancakes. “He was so cute. And the perfect gentleman. Max, he made me pancakes.”

He was sweet.

“I love pancakes.”

He was hot.

Max raises his brow.

“You’re implying he was there early to make you the pancakes?”

I blush.

“You slept with him?! This is the first date right?”

I said he was hot.

“Well…”

“Slut,” he playfully coughs.

I chuck a piece of bacon at him.

He laughs.

“Um… excuse Mr. Pot, but Mrs. Kettle remembers you having plenty of one nigh stands in college.”

“So what? I was experimenting.”

“With what? Being a man whore?”

He laughs. “Suck it, Parker.”

I’ve missed this these last few weeks.

“How have you been doing?”

“Good. Great.”

“Really? I mean how have you been doing with…”

He knows I’m talking about his father. “I’ve barely seen you since the funeral.”

He flinches.

He’s definitely not good, or great.

“I know. I’ve been trying to works some things out.”

“Like what?”

He shrugs. “Just… things.”

“What are “things”, Max?

“I’m a partner in Evans & Jefferson Legal now.”

Max was the only one to follow in Phillip’s footsteps.

I’m proud of him.

I just hate the way it came about.

“How has that been since…”

They were so close.

He grinds his jaw.

“Liz, I don’t want to talk about my father, okay? Damn it, I just want a normal breakfast.”

I focus more attention than needed on my pancakes.

He sighs. I know he feels guilty.

“I’m sorry, Lizzie. I know I haven’t been a very good friend lately. I’ve just been busy taking over the firm and getting everything sorted out and… I um…”

“Fine Max. If you want to let everything fester inside of you then so be it.”

“No, Liz…”

“I won’t be around when you explode into tiny Max pieces.”

I lie. I will.

He rolls his eyes.

“We’re hanging out tonight though.”

“I got engaged.”

“I was thinking that we all can have a movie night.”

“Lizzie…”

“Not at my place though, they’ve already trashed it.” And I’ll be on their asses until they clean every corner. “On second thought, maybe it should be just me and you….”

“Liz! Did you hear me?”

“What?”

“I proposed to Megan. We’re getting married.”

What?

“What?”

“I’m engaged.”

“To do what?”

He laughs. “To be married, silly.”

Oh. My. God. My best friend’s getting married!

I almost let out a squeal until I see his face.

“This is a good thing, right?”

He frowns as if he doesn’t know what I mean.

I know he knows.

“Of course. I’m getting married!”

“Max, I can read you like a book. What’s with that face?”

“What face?”

“The one on your ass. What other face do you have?” He knows he’s caught. “And don’t answer my questions with questions.”

“I’m engaged, Liz. Let’s not get into this right now. We should be celebrating.”

Okay. There’s a few things wrong here.

One.

He should be grinning like he was the first time he beat me in Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo.

Instead, he has this stupid looking half smile.

Two.

Last time I checked, Max wasn’t ready for a huge commitment with Megan.

And three.

If he were really happy about this, shouldn’t he be celebrating with Megan?

“Max…”

“You want my pancakes?”

I pick them off his plate.

He wasn’t going to eat them anyway.

I speak around a mouthful, “Stop trying to distract me.”

“What Liz?” He’s agitated now. “I want to do this.”

“But marriage?”

“Liz, I want to do this. I just… I really need your blessing right now.”

He looks so desperate.

“Do you really want to do this?”

He nods. His hand tightens around mine.

I’m not aware of when he grabbed it.

“And you love her?”

Another nod.

“And you know she’s the one?”

He sighs. “I thought I was supposed to be the protective one is this relationship?”

“You forget I’m the one that jumped Frankie Lawson when he told everyone that you sold drugs and the principal called the conference with your parents.”

“Yeah, that was embarrassing. Having a girl fight your battles for you.”

“Hey! I’m a black belt in karate. He should’ve kept his mouth shut.”

“And you were only a lowly freshman.”

I watch him laugh. We’ve come a long way since high school.

“So, you’re really going to do this.”

He lets out a shuddering breath. “Yeah. I’m getting married.”

I squeeze his hand.

He hasn’t answered my last question.

I hope he isn’t making the biggest mistake of his life.

TBC………

Be back Friday :wink:
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:32 pm

Hey all. Thanks for all the feedback.

Earth2Mama
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: Hey, don't be so sure there's not any secret pining. lol We're only on part 4.
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: Opps! I changed it. You know I am lost without you lol.
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: Maria is Liz's sister Nancy and Jeff are their parents. And Amy is Tess' mother. lol Hope that clears things up. :D
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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, lots of food and such. lol Anyway, here's the next part. Enjoy :wink:

Part 4

I am the fucking master of charades.

I’m so good, I should be banned.

“Liz, would you sit down already!”

“A little bitter are we?” I tease

Michael grumbles.

“Maria, the score please?”

“Guys, twelve, ladies, twenty-one.”

I moonwalk back to my seat.

Max is the only male laughing.

“Alright, why don’t we stop here while the guys have some pride left and have dinner?” My mom suggests.

The guys readily agree.

Sore losers.

The food is already set up in the kitchen. Buffet style.

Megan pulls me aside.

“What’s up?”

“I just wanted to say thank you for letting us have the engagement party here.”

“Oh, you know its no problem.”

“I actually wanted to ask you something.”

I blink.

“I was wondering if you would be my maid of honor.”

How did I see that coming?

“I don’t have many close girlfriends and… you are Max’s best friend so… I’m sure he’d pick you to be his best man if you had certain other qualities…”

“Megan, you’re rambling.”

“Right.”

“In other words, I was your only choice.”

“Oh my God! No!”

She’s so easy.

“I’m kidding. I’d love to.”

She squeals. It gets the attention of everyone else in the kitchen.

“Max, she said yes!!” she calls.

Max smiles. One of those half, fake smiles.

He doesn’t look happy.

He looks at me. I raise my brow.

He simply nods and returns his attention to his plate.

My mission tonight; Figure out what hell is going on with my best friend.
**********

Max is sitting on the patio.

I sneak away from the conversation.

He smiles as I slip through the glass door.

“Hey.”

“What are you doing out here? This party is for you.”

He nods. Takes a sip of his beer.

“I’m just getting some fresh air. It’s sort of… stifling in there.”

I look through the glass at my family.

“They’re talking about bridesmaid dresses.”

He snickers. “I’m going to make sure you’re in one of those puffy dresses with the lace and bow in the back.”

“Shut up!”

“Nope. It’s my wedding and if you want to participant, you’re going to have to do what I say.”

“Oh how quickly so little power goes to your head.”

He grins. I punch his arm.

“Have you guys set a date yet?”

He swallows a mouthful of beer. “We were talking about a December wedding.”

“Max, that’s like five months away!”

He swallows anther mouthful.

“God, I can’t believe you’re getting married. For real.”

He passes me his beer.

“We’re not little kids anymore.”

“No. We’re not.”

We used to play house.

Max and I were married.

Alex and Maria were our babies.

“Hey, remember that time when you were like five and your parents caught you taking off Alex’s clothes because you were playing like you were changing his diaper?”

I was five. Alex was four.

They thought we were doing something that we weren’t supposed to do.

At five I got the G rated sex talk.

“You made me do it! You said it was the woman’s job to take care of the baby.”

He laughs. “I was only six. I didn’t know.”

“Still. You got me into so much trouble. You should be ashamed.”

“I am. I’m sorry Lizzie and I’ll never make you take off Alex’s pants again.”

“Thank you.”

He rolls his eyes.

I lean my head on his shoulder.

He loops his arm through mine.

“How do you feel? What’s it like being an engaged man?”

He sighs. “Overwhelming. It’s uh… overwhelming.”

Overwhelming huh?

“What do you mean?”

He shrugs. “It’s just… a lot of work. Now that everyone knows, it just makes it more real.”

He shrugs again.

“I’m gonna miss you.”

He laughs. “I’m not moving to China. I’m getting married.”

“Yeah, but we won’t be able to hang out like we used to.”

He pulls away. His eyes darken.

There’s a long silence before he speaks.

“Listen uh… there’s something that I’ve wanted to tell you.”

“I’m already Megan’s bride maid. You want me to be yours too?”

He doesn’t smile.

He shifts. He looks nervous.

I enclose his hands in mine.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just…This is probably the worst time ever to tell you this but I just… I just wanted you to know…”

“Hey guys,” Michael slips through the door. “We’re just about to start karaoke. Come inside.”

I wave him away. “In a minute, Michael.”

He rolls his eyes.

I turn to Max. His head is lowered. His shoulders are slouched. What the hell is going on with him?

“Go ahead, Max.”

He shakes his head.

His nerves are gone. His control is back.

He tugs his hands from mine.

“Never mind. It wasn’t important.”

He smiles a little.

It’s a half assed attempt at faking happiness.

He’s been doing that a lot.

“Go on inside,” he tells me. “I’m just going to finish my beer and then I’ll be in.”

His bottle is empty.

I want to grill him for answers.

But knowing him, he won’t break.

I head inside. Alex and Kyle are already making fools of themselves.

Max comes in a few songs later. He sits in between Megan’s legs.

He gives me a half smile.

I think my mission is complete. I’ve figured it out.

Max isn’t ready for marriage.

TBC……….
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:17 am

It's Friday and I'm back with a new part.

sprayadhesive: I'm becoming obsessed with The Office. It's so good lol.
FrenchDreamer
Mica
LairaBehr4
begonia9508
dreamer19
Earth2Mama
Alien614
Smac
: To answer your question about why Megan chose Liz and not Isabel to be the maid of honor, Liz is just simply closer to Max than Isabel is even though they are siblings. If you rememeber in the chapter, Megan said that she didn't have many close female friends and she just thought that Max would choose Liz if he could. :)
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Thanks for the feedback! And don't get turned off by the first half of this part. Just because he's here now, doesn't mean he's going to stay... well, you'll get what I mean after you read it.

Enjoy :D

Part 5

I giggle.

His beard tickles my neck.

His chest is nice.

His blond hair is thick.

My fingers tangle in it.

I giggle.

I don’t want him to stop.

But he does.

“Is this okay? We can stop.”

He’s so polite. Such a gentleman.

“Josh, you’ve already been in my pants.”

He smiles, blushing furiously.

“Continue, please.”

I pull him on top of me.

He’s so attentive, so gentle.

Soon we’re doing the horizontal tangle.

He does it in a civil way.

I want to burst into laughter.

I need to find his rough side.

I’m tucked into his side.

All safe, warm. Cuddly.

I need to get up.

“Want something to drink?”

“Anything you got is fine.” He kisses my cheek.

I slip on his shirt and trot into the kitchen.

Josh steps behind me.

He kisses my neck.

I step away.

“Do you want to go out and get a drink?”

“Yeah.”

We go to Jim’s bar a few blocks from my house.

Josh opens the door for me.

Josh pulls out my chair.

Josh stands when I get up to use the bathroom.

Chivalry should die.

Well, not die because I like to be treated like a gentlewoman once in awhile.

Chivalry should just be absent for awhile.

Maybe if I get him drunk, he’ll be rude to me.

I drag him to the counter and order the heaviest liquor.

A few hours later, he’s a stumbling, fumbling fool.

He whispers the filthiest, most inappropriate comments in my ear.

It’s new for me.

It’s kind of exciting.

“I’d fuck you right on this counter.”

In a blink of an eye, he swipes his arm over the top of the counter.

Glasses fall to the floor.

He looks serious.

“Hey!” Jim, the bar owner comes over. “What the fuck!”

I wiggle out of Josh’s grasp.

“I’m so sorry Jim. Please, just put every broken glass on my tap.”

He sighs. “Don’t worry about it, Liz.”

“Please, let me pay for something.”

We work something out.

I nod my thanks. “Okay Josh, I think you’ve had enough.”

“I’m just getting started, baby. Damn I could just eat you all nigh…”

“Whoa!! Okay!”

I usher him towards the door.

I’m thoroughly embarrassed.

Maybe Josh is best kept polite.
**********

Maybe Josh is best kept horny.

He’s passed out.

I ease from underneath him.

The stiffness is already threatening to set in.

I stretch.

I go into the kitchen.

I wave at Max on the way.

Wait…

“Max!! Oh my God!!”

His eyes drift over my nakedness.

“Hi Lizzie.”

I grab the cushions off the couch for cover.

He shakes his head eagerly.

I hear him whisper. “No.”

His eyes drop to the cushions covering my nakedness.

I blush. This is so awkward.

I rush into my room.

Wearing a t-shirt and shorts, I return to find him stumbling to the couch.

He knocks over my lamp. Bumps into the coffee table.

He misses the couch when he tries to sit.

He bursts into laughter.

“Oh my God. You are so drunk.”

I’m suspicious and amused simultaneously.

“I’m not.”

The drunks love my house.

He rolls under the coffee table and lies on his stomach.

“But just so you know, I can’t be held accountable for my actions and/or words.”

“In other words, you’re drunk.”

He chuckles. “Yes.”

“So this means you won’t remember any of this in the morning.”

“Prolly not.” He squints his eyes. “You have a beautiful body, Liz.”

I blush. “Um, thanks.”

I sit in front of him.

“What are you doing here?”

“Just hanging out with my bestest friend.”

“It’s almost midnight. Does Megan know you’re here?”

“She’s not my fucking baby sitter.”

“No, but she’s your fiancée.”

He raises his head and bumps it on the table top.

“Ow.”

I stifle my giggles. “Max, come from under there.”

He pouts and rubs his head. “Megan and her mom went to New York to shop for wedding dresses.”

“Are you excited? The wedding’s only four months away.”

December 20th.

I’ll miss having him to myself.

“Come under here.”

He grabs my foot and pulls.

I shriek.

“Max, no!”

His laughter is contagious.

“Me and Lizzie under the coffee table,” he sings.

“Oh God.”

“Billie Jean is not my lover. She's just a girl who claims that I am the one. But the kid is not my son.” He rolls on his back as his eyes widen. “Liz, sing with me.”

I laugh. “Liz, sing,” he whines.

I roll my eyes and join in.

“People always told me, be careful what you do. Don't go around breaking young girls' hearts. Mother always told me be careful of who you love. And be careful what you do cause the lie becomes the truth.”

Hours later, under the coffee table, we’re still singing.

I laugh at his rendition of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You'.

His voice is not bad. But still…

He rolls over and engulfs me in his large arms.

“You know, people always ask me why we never dated, Lizzie. Why is that?”

“I don’t know. I never thought of you in that way. We’re just best buddies.”

He chuckles against my neck. “Buddies.”

“Can I stay here tonight?”

“You know you’re always welcome.”

He sighs and becomes silent.

He’s out for the count.

“Max, come on. It’s time to get up.”

I shake him awake. “No. Stay here with me.”

“Let’s get you to bed before you completely pass out.”

He groans. “No. I wanna stay here with you.”

“No. You have to go in the guest room. Come on.”

I drag him from underneath the table.

He hooks his foot around the leg of the table and drags it as I drag him.

“Max, seriously.”

He mimics me. “Lizzie, seriously.”

“Don’t do that. You’re drunk and even if you weren’t you know I’d win.”

He pouts. “That’s cause you cheat.”

I laugh. “How do you cheat mimicking someone?”

He lets me help him to his feet.

I help him into the room.

He grabs me before I can leave.

“I wanna sleep with you,” he pouts.

“Why?”

“Cause, you keep me warm.”

I laugh at his dreamy look.

“I want you with me.”

“Well, I have to sleep with Josh.” I sound like I’m talking to a child. “He probably misses me.”

I brush back his hair and his pout grows. “But he had you all damn day. It’s my turn,” he whines.

“Your turn?” I snort. “We are not doing what Josh and I did.”

He grabs my hand and yanks me onto the bed. “But I’m good in bed, Lizzie.”

Oh boy. “Megan must not be giving you any.”

“Lizzie…”

“Max, go to sleep.”

I get up. He does this whimpering thing.

I hate him.

I return beside him and flip on the TV.

He buries his nose against my thigh.

He’s snoring a few minutes later.

He’s a cute drunk.

I tuck him in.

I join Josh in my room.

I slip under the sheets and drift off to sleep.

TBC…..

Be back Friday
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:35 pm

Hey everyone! It's not Friday, at least where I'm at. But I'm not sure I'll be around long enough to post tomorrow so I'm posting the next part early.

OrangeSky: It's always the quiet ones that are the true freaks. lol
roswell3053
LairaBehr4
: You're right on target with Josh and Megan. They're good people but perhaps not good for Max and Liz.
LairaBehr4 wrote:And P.S.: "It's my turn"? This isn't musical partners!!
I smile everytime I read this. lol

Ellie
Earth2Mama
: Sometimes, especially when you've known a person since diapers, you just don't think of them in a certain way. Or, maybe she has and she just doesn't want to admit it. We don't know... okay, well, I know but you get it. lol
FrenchDreamer
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Dreamer<3
: Thanks :oops:
dreamer19
keyelee
guelbebek
raemac
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Mica
martine
: Don't worry, Liz won't just sit by and let Max not really think about what he's doing. :wink:
Michelle in Yonkers: Megan isn't having a baby by someone else. I just used Billie Jean because I was listening to it at the time. :wink:
begonia9508
Alien614
anonymousarfan


Now on the the part which I hope you enjoy. :D

Part 6

I feel familiar stubble tickling my face.

Josh is smiling over me.

I smile back.

I yawn and stretch.

“Good morning.”

“Morning beautiful.”

“I’m surprised you’re not permanently attached to the toilet right now.”

He laughs and nuzzles my neck.

“I can hold my liquor sweetie…sort of. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a wimp.”

I giggle. “Could’ve fooled me.”

“Can’t say the same for your friend out there.”

“Max?” I throw back the covers. “What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s not feeling the best.”

He watches me pull on a t-shirt and shorts.

“Baby…” Josh grabs me. “He’s a grown man. You can tend to him later.”

He pulls me back to bed. He’s already tugging off my shorts.

“But…”

“I want to tend to you now.”

“What’s gotten into you? What happened to my shy, polite, Josh?”

“You brought out the animal in him,” he growls.

I squeal when he attacks my neck.

“Josh! Seriously, I have to go see if he’s alright.”

He stops.

He pouts.

“He’s not as big and strong as you.” Max could kick his ass in a second flat.

Josh grins. I roll my eyes.

Men are ego whores.

Max is sprawled across the bed. He moans into the pillows.

I smile.

“Morning Miss Houston.”

He reaches out for me.

I grab his hand.

“Lizzie…”

His eyes are red. He really doesn’t look good.

I’m not sure its all because of the hangover.

His eyes lower.

He’s looking at…

He remembers.

I step back. Blushing.

“Uh… Um I’ll make you something for your hangover.”

I hurry into the kitchen.

Josh says he has to go. He was the only tension breaker.

Max comes in and sits at the table. He rests his head against his arms.

I set the tea in front of him.

“Liz, I am so sorry about last night.”

“Don’t be. I had fun.”

He looks up.

His eyes…

“Not that…”

…they kill me.

“I didn’t… I didn’t mean to interrupt anything. I mean… if it helps, last night is really fuzzy. I only remember bits and pieces.”

My bits and pieces.

I cross my arms over my chest.

“Damn.” He holds his head in his hands.

To fill the awkwardness, I start cleaning the counter.

“Um…”

A good five minutes pass.

I’ve cleaned the same spot four times.

I feel his eyes on me.

It makes me self-conscious. Makes me… shiver.

Hmm.

The chair scrapes against the floor.

He’s right behind me.

“Lizzie, can we not make a big deal out of this? I mean… this is us.”

I turn. He adverts his eyes.

“Yeah. Let’s just forget it.”

He steps back, nodding.

“I’m just going to go lay down.”

Concern replaces discomfiture.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

He’s not.

“I mean, last night… Something is bothering you. It’s not like you to just go out and get drunk.”

“I’m fine, Liz. I just… I had too much to drink.”

“You never used to drink too much.” He tenses and looks away. “Max, I’m worried…”

The corner of his mouth twitches.

“Lizzie, you’re always worried.”

“Max, I’m serious.”

“So am I.”

He’s stubborn.

I growl at him. He ignores me.

“I have to go to see a guy about the reception hall.”

He staggers away.

“You don’t.”

“I do.”

My eyes narrow. “You’re in no condition to go to a meeting.”

He looks green.

“I’m fine.”

He searches for his shoes.

I grab his hand.

“Max.”

“Liz, just leave it alone.”

“No! What are you hiding?”

“Nothing! Why does everyone keep asking me that? I’m fine. I’m happy, I’m getting married.”

My eyes narrow further. I yank him towards the couch.

“Are you having second thoughts about getting married?”

He looks stunned. “What?”

“Max, I was gonna keep my mouth shut but I’m not sure that you’re making the right decision. I mean, you’ve never said that you wanted to marry her… I mean, you two just don’t have that… that whatever it is that people have when they are truly in love.”

“What?”

“I think it’s a little weird that you never came to me and told me. I mean… God, I know that sounds bad but… but you suck at picking out jewelry. You always said that you’d need me to help. And it’s not like you to just jump into something this big without mulling it over.”

“What?”

I don’t stop now.

I’m on a roll.

“And… and you’ve been acting so weird lately. You’re falling apart right in front of my eyes and I have a hard time thinking that it doesn’t have something to do with this engagement.”

The more I think about it, the more holes I see in this.

“I love you, Max and I’d be a horrible best friend if I didn’t tell you this because I think you’re making a big mistake and I think you know that too. You’ve barely grieved for your father…”

“Liz, stop it!”

“And you’ve got this entire company to look after and now you just up and propose to her… I love Megan, I do, but as your best friend, Max I’m telling you I don’t think you should go through with this, at least not now.”

I’m almost in tears. I know he’s hurting.

He won’t show it.

I’ll cry for him.

We’re best friends. It’s what we do.

I blink. The front door slams.

He’s gone.
***************

Tess hands me another drink.

I push it away.

It’s been hours.

Max hasn’t called.

I’m worried.

Isabel brings out another jug of ice cream. “You know, I didn’t want to say it, but I didn’t think it was a good idea for them to get married either.”

Maria and Tess readily agree.

“Living together and marriage are two totally different things,” Tess says. She shudders. “I don’t think I ever want to get married.”

Isabel frowns. “Don’t let my brother hear that. Kyle would have a fit.”

Tess waves her away. “He knows. Kyle just turned twenty-one. He’s not concerned about anything but getting wasted.”

“I felt the same before Michael and I got married. But when I got older my opinion changed. I wanted everyone to know my bonehead was legally mine.”

I laugh. “What do you mean, ‘when you got older’? Maria, you’re only twenty-four.”

“Well then, what about you, Liz? Do you think you and Josh will go all the way?”

I shove a spoonful of vanilla in my mouth.

“I don’t know. I’m not in love or anything.”

Tess laughs. “You know, I always thought that you and Max would end up together.”

Me and Max.

I snort.

Isabel squeals. “Oh my God! He had the biggest crush on you, Liz.”

What?

“I know.” Maria turns to the other two women. “Am I the only one who has caught him staring at her?”

It’s a unanimous no.

“He gets the most twinkling eyed look in his eyes.”

There are giggles.

They continue on.

I’ve been completely oblivious to any of this.

What the hell are they talking about?

I’ve never looked at Max as anything other than my best friend.

I’ve never thought of him as a species of the opposite sex.

Max is Max. My Max.

I don’t believe this.

I laugh it off.

Max could never have a crush on me

TBC…………
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:26 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone. You guys make me happy.

roswell3053
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: Thanks for coming out of lurkdom. :D
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: Wow, um... have you been sneaking peeks at the next chapters? Seriously lol love you too hun!
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: I'm glad you refound this. Welcome back lol.

Oh and just a little note, since I'm almost, like two chapters away, done writing this I'll be posting twice a week now. So look for another new part on Tuesday.

Now, on with the story.

Part 7

I make it back to Parker Photos in one piece.

James is showing some customers their finished photos.

I smile at them. They thank me for making them look beautiful.

I hate to brag. But I’m good at what I do.

The customers leave. “I think customers like you more than me,” he pouts

“Well, duh. I’m better than you.”

James is an excellent photographer. It’s why I hired him.

Plus, I had a crush on him.

I’m biased. He brings in business so who the hell cares?

“Suck it, Parker.”

I laugh.

“How was the wedding?”

I toss him my cameras. “Horrifying.”

He laughs. “Really? This gig alone is like twenty-five percent of a year’s profit.”

“Besides that, it was just… they were more worried about the imported roses then the actual nuptials. It was ridiculous.”

It’s nearly six. I have no more appointments.

It’s the perk of owning my own business. I can close whenever the hell I feel like it.

I follow James to the back office.

“Well, let’s load these puppies up, shall we?”

After we finish the first camera, I send James home.

I stay after. I need to be working on something.

If I go home, I’ll just worry about Max.

I haven’t spoken to him in a few days. I can’t get in touch with him.

Megan hasn’t seen him.

It’s border line terrifying me. I can’t read him anymore.

The chimes above the front door rings.

Josh appears soon after.

“Hey baby.”

“Hi.”

He kisses me. I respond half-heartedly.

“What’s wrong?” He pulls up a chair, his hand never leaving mine.

He’s sweet. Really.

“Nothing.”

“Are you sure?”

No.

“Yeah. What are you doing here?”

I sound rude.

I’m not trying to be.

“Sorry, I’m cranky.”

He smiles. He’s so understanding.

“We had a date, remember?”

Oh. “Josh, can we postpone that?”

His understanding smile slightly dims. “Again? Liz we haven’t gone out in awhile.”

“I know. But… I just… I’m not in the mood.”

His smile turns into a frown. “It’s Max isn’t it?”

“No.”

He sighs. “I get that he’s depressed and you’re his best friend, but you don’t have to baby sit him.”

“Max is not depressed.”

“His depression is making you depressed.”

He is not depressed.

“Josh, I’m just worried about him, okay?”

He doesn’t know Max like I do.

Max is always in control.

But now he’s… not.

“I don’t like your friendship with him. The way he looks at you…”

“What?!”

“Is there something I should know about?”

Josh is polite. He’s nice.

But he’s also jealous.

There’s a long silence.

“Liz?”

“I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

“What?! Why, because I don’t want to share you?”

“We’re just two different people.”

“I think I’m falling for you.”

Whoa! “And apparently on two different levels.” Good grief.

“Josh, this was just a fun fling for me. I thought it was for you too.”

He longingly glances at the wedding photos on my computer.

Yeah, we’re definitely on different levels.

“Liz, I don’t want this.”

“I’m sorry, Josh.”

I don’t know what else to say.

He’s the perfect guy.

Just not perfect for me.
***************

At night, graveyards give me the creeps.

I keep my headlights on.

His car is parked haphazardly a few feet from mine.

He’s there, lying in front of the headstone with a bottle of Jack Daniels clutched to his chest.

He was at the bar earlier.

Jim called and tipped me off.

Otherwise, he’d still be here… alone.

I drop to my knees beside him.

He reeks of liquor and he hasn’t shaved.

I’ve never seen him like this.

He looks worse than the night Phillip died.

I roll him over.

He’s out cold.

Why didn’t I see it?

He’s been depressed and I didn’t even acknowledge it.

I practically ignored it.

“God, Max.”

It takes awhile to wake him.

His eyes shine with unfocused vulnerability.

“I’s wonderin how long it’d take you to find me. Always so protective, Lizzie.”

He tries to take another drink.

I stop him. I’ll be pissed at him later.

Now I’m crowded with worry.

I set the bottle out of his reach.

“Max…”

“I think Megan’s pregnant.”

“What?!”

He sniffles. “I don’t want it.”

“What?”

“I don’t want it.” His eyes sparkling with tears, he reaches out to his father’s headstone.

My heart shatters.

“I miss him.”

I get my mouth working in time to say, “I know you do baby.”

“I really miss him.”

His eyes drop.

His face scrunches up.

He finally cries.

I cry with him.

Willing him to heal.

TBC………

I'll be back Tuesday :wink:
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:56 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. As promised, bi-weekly updates. :D

LairaBehr4
roswell3053
begonia9508
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Earth2Mama
: Sorry my Max is depressing you. This part won't make you feel much better. Though if you can hold out until after this part, it'll get much better. :wink:
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OrangeSky
: lol Even Josh has a dirrty side.
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Behrsgirl77
: Yes, you know my dreamer tendencies should erase all that depression. lol

I hope you all enjoy! :wink:

Part 8

I barge into the guestroom. The door bangs against the wall.

He wakes with a start.

His hands immediately go to his head. “Fucking hell.”

“Wake up sunshine!”

He moans.

“Where am I?” He catches my gaze through squinted eyes. “Liz?”

I pull back the curtains. Sun shines happily through.

He groans.

“Come on. Breakfast is almost ready…”

“I don’t want to smell any kind of food for the rest of my life.”

“I made omelets, toast, eggs, bacon…”

“Liz, please.”

“And some pancakes for me, but you can have some too.” I pull the sheets off him. He curls into a ball.

“Why are you torturing me?”

“Because you deserve it.”

“I’m sor…”

What the hell were you thinking?! Do you know how wasted you were last night?! I literally had to drag your ass through the door. And you were idriving in that condition. You could’ve been arrested! It’s damn near a miracle that you aren’t wrapped around a tree right now!”

He looks miserable, but I’m not through ripping him a new ass hole.

“You go missing and don’t tell anyone where you are….”

“I’m not a child.”

“You’re fucking acting like one!! God… Max, what is going on with you?! You’ve lost weight. You’ve been drinking more in the past few months than you have your entire life. I called Jefferson and he said that you’ve been missing meetings and showing up late.”

He mumbles into the pillow, “I own the place.”

“Don’t be a smart ass, Max. You’ve got everyone worried. Michael’s worried. Michael, Max.”

There’s a long silence. He closes his eyes.

For a moment, I think he’s fallen asleep.

“Max? Talk to me.”

“I don’t like it when you yell at me.”

I snort. “Well…”

“It frightens me.” I see him smiling against the pillow.

“I’m glad I’m amusing you, but I’m serious.”

“Me too. And I promise, as soon as I can see straight I’ll… we’ll talk. Okay?”

Good. I can live with that.

“Fine. But I think you should call Megan.”

He groans.

“Max, she’s your fiancée and she’s pregnant with your baby.”

“What?! She told you that?”

“No, you did… last night.”

He whispers now, trying to remember. “I did?”

I nod, brushing back his hair. I hate seeing him like this.

“You said that she was pregnant and that you didn’t want it.”

He makes a quiet whimper. “I-I saw the pregnancy test a few days ago. I freaked out. I must have just jumped to conclusions.”

My entire being sighs in relief.

A baby is the last thing he needs.

“You need to talk to her.”

I hand him the phone and leave him for some privacy.
***********

He’s near sleep when I check on him.

“You okay?”

He nods.

I slip onto the edge of the bed.

“She’s not pregnant.”

I squeeze his shoulder.

“I don’t think I can marry her.”

His sighs. I think he knew that all along.

“Did you tell her?”

“Not over the phone. I don’t want to go over there like this.”

I close the curtains and shut all the blinds. “Well, you get some sl…”

He’s already breathing deeply into the pillow.

I tuck him in. Still worrying.

Michael calls. He’ll be over sometime later with Max’s truck.

Hours later, Josh calls.

“Do we really have to go through this?”

“What, Liz? What did I do?”

“Nothing. Josh I really don’t want to hurt you…”

He snorts. “Well, you’re doing a fine job…”

“I’m sorry. You’re a great guy and I wish I felt that strongly for you, but I don’t and I’d rather break away now before we go too far.”

“But I’m already far gone, Liz. Can’t you just give it some time? How do you know you won’t feel the same later on?”

I sigh. He’s persistent.

That earns him some points.

Just not enough to get me to go back to him.

“Because, I know Josh. I just don’t see us as anything but a fling. I’m sorry.”

There’s a long silence. He lets out a long sigh.

“I’ll miss you Parker.”

I’ll miss his chest.

His chest was nice.

Ripply.

“I’ll miss you too.” I giggle in attempt to lighten the mood. “You’ll have a time getting over me.”

“Hey! Don’t tease. We’re not at that stage yet.”

“Sorry.”

“So, I guess I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah.”

Max shuffles into the room when I hang up.

Like a shell of his former shelf.

“I think… I think I need professional help.”

“What? Why?”

He crosses the room. “Liz, the only reason why I proposed to Megan is because she kept bugging me to talk about my dad. I couldn’t… She figured that since I couldn’t commit to her, I was depressed because of him. And I guess… I was feeling like I was never going to be with the person I was made to be with so...”

“So you settled for her?”

His eyes stay trained to the floor. Like he’s ashamed.

“I couldn’t handle the pressure…my dad, becoming partner, the engagement, my… I cracked. Last night I… If you hadn’t found me…”

My heart sinks to my stomach.

“I was drunk and I wasn’t thinking straight… everything felt like it was slipping from me. I feel like I’ve totally lost of control…I don’t know how to deal with feeling like that and I… I don’t know.”

I hadn’t realized…

He kneels in front of me. His eyes water. I choke back a sob. “Liz, I’m so sorry for everything. I’ve been a horrible friend. A horrible everything… I thought I’d never see you again.”

His head falls into my lap.

“What are you talking about? Of cour…”

“No Liz. I’m not happy. I-I wasn’t at the cemetery just to visit my dad. If I hadn’t passed out… if you hadn’t come… I was about to do something really stupid.”

He looks so lost.

He’s lost complete control.

If he’d had his way last night, he wouldn’t be here.

Oh…

I slide off the couch.

We cry together on the floor.

TBC…….

I'll be back Friday.
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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:39 pm

Hey everyone. Thanks for the feedback.

Earth2Mama: For Max to settle for someone he's not in love with is disturbing. But I think it's pretty obvious that he is in love with Liz (if not, it'll come to light in this part). And to not be able to tell her for fear of losing their friendship is a big reason for his depression. It sucks but its just a little look into our beloved Max's head. lol
begonia9508
Mica
FrenchDreamer
: You'll have to keep reading to see if Liz recuperates Max's feelings :wink:
Alien614
LairaBehr4
LegalAlien
guelbebek
dreamer19
OrangeSky
Ellie
Addicted2AmberEyes
: Of course Liz would let Max know that she wasn't happy with him. In this story she's a kick ass chick. lol
roswell3053
jamy21
sprayadhesive
anonymousarfan
: No, Max meant me when he said that. But after me, Liz is his next choice. :wink: lol
Behrsgirl77: *MUAH* Hey, who decided that that's how you spell *MUAH*? Don't ask why I'm wondering :roll:
behr_able

I know its not Friday (at least not where I'm at) but my mom is in the hospital after having surgery and she needs me to run some errands for her and I also have to work all day (I hate my job.) So I'm posting a bit early. I hope you enjoy! :wink:

Part 9

One month later

“Isabel!! Oh my God! Hurry!!”

She comes running.

She’s panting when she appears in the door.

“What?! What happened?”

“You can do my makeup now. Max will be here in fifteen.”

She sighs.

I snicker.

“Don’t do that! I thought you hurt yourself or something.”

Isabel’s a drama queen. It’s why I love messing with her.

“Sorry.”

One disapproving look later, she’s doing my makeup.

I don’t wear it often, which is why I need help when I want it to look good.

“Where’s Maria? I thought she was going to do my hair.”

“She’s on the phone with Michael. We peasants are making plans to go to the movies while you and Max have your high class rendezvous.”

See. Drama.

“He’s just taking me out to celebrate because he landed a big client at the firm.”

“Pah,” she huffs. “Where is he taking you?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. He just told me to dress nice and wear my dancing shoes.”

“He spoils you,” she snickers.

He does.

Maria slides into the room.

“Alright gals. Time to make Liz look purty!”
*********

Max takes me to a restaurant downtown.

He looks great in his red shirt and dress pants.

A local band is holding a small concert. We make fun of the few old couples trying to keep up with the upbeat tempo.

“That’s going to be us in fifty years,” Max teases.

I laugh. “Yeah right. That’s us now.”

“Are you trying to say I have grey hair?”

He runs his fingers through his hair.

He finally got it cut.

“No. I’m saying that you have trouble dancing.”

He sucks actually.

“I do not.”

“Do too. Don’t lie.”

His eyes narrow. They’re sparkling.

He stands, holding out his hand.

“May I have this dance?”

“Max, we’re supposed to be celebrating. Do you really want to embarrass yourself today?”

He pulls me out of my seat and swings me onto the dance floor.

“Smooth.”

He smiles.

Surprisingly, he moves on beat and completely in step with me.

“Well, well, well. Look who learned how to dance. What happened?”

After a few twirls, he answers with a shrug.

“I’m a natural.”

I give him a look.

He sighs. “I had Tess give me a few lessons.” He pouts. “You always steal my glory.”

“It’s a gift.”

He laughs and twirls me around.

He seems carefree. I missed him like this.

We dance on.

He pulls me close.

His front to my back.

We’re closer than we’ve ever been.

His hands fall to my hips, his fingers caress.

His head rests against my shoulder. He’s practically nuzzling my neck.

What’s going on?

“Max?”

The music stops. His hands fall away.

He pulls me back to the table.

There’s something different.

I catch him staring during our meal.

“What?”

He shrugs. “Nothing. I just … getting a new client isn’t the only reason why I wanted to bring you out.”

“It’s not?”

His fingers squeeze mine.

I’m not aware of when he grabbed it.

He has a habit of that.

“No. I just wanted to say, thank you. This past month hasn’t been easy for me… going through counseling and breaking up with Megan…. moving in with Kyle…”

“Which I’m sure you’re seriously regretting.”

He smiles. “You were always there, Liz. Even when I was frustrated, you stood by me and I can’t tell you how grateful I am.”

“Max…”

“Lizzie, you’re my best friend and I can’t even begin to repay you.”

“You know you don’t have to. You’d do the same for me.”

“In a heart beat.”
*********

Max takes me home.

He walks me to the front door. He’s suddenly shy.

He’s never shy around me.

Frowning, I push open the front door. “Wanna come in? You know you can’t resist my coffee.”

He smiles and slips pass me.

I can feel him watching me when I move into the kitchen.

I catch him staring.

“What? Why do you keep looking at me like that?”

He crosses into the kitchen. He shoves his hands in his pockets.

“Um… I… Maria just did a really good job with your hair. It’s really… bouncy.”

Yeah… right.

I can still feel him watching me.

It makes me self-conscious. “What are you staring at? Seriously…”

“I love the job Isabel did with your makeup. It just blends…”

“Okay Max, are you going to tell me what’s going on or not because this is getting ridiculous.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about?”

“You’re talking about how much you like my makeup and I know you have some weird hair fetish, but come on…Do you seriously think there is nothing wrong with that? I know you, Max.”

He looks uncertain of himself.

“Should I start to worry?”

“No.” He sighs. “Liz, can you just… sit down for a minute? I have something to tell you.”

Oh… I plop onto the nearest chair. He sits beside me. “Are you engaged again? Max I swear…”

“No, Lizzie it’s not… well, it’s something along the lines of engagement. I mean, no it’s not… I don’t mean I want to be engaged right now… not to say that if,” he gestures between the two of us, “then yeah, definitely, but I just mean that it’s along the same…. bigness as an engagement but it’s just…not.”

Okay… “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He takes a deep breath.

He’s sweating.

I wipe his brow with a napkin.

He smiles.

“Okay, let me try this a different way.” He takes my hands. “Liz, you know I’ve been going to counseling and it’s helped me get things sorted out in my head. I’ve learned to grieve for my father. I’ve got my drinking under control and I’ve got out of a relationship that I didn’t want to be in. But there’s one more thing… one more secret that I ha…”

His phone rings.

“Shit.”

“Max, just ignore it. What were you going to say?”

He looks defeated.

Whatever he wants to say is eating him alive.

He flips it open.

“Hello?” He frowns. I can hear slurred yelling on the other line. I lean in close to him so I can hear.

“Max! Okay, Max this is what I need you to do!”

“Michael?”

“Listen man. I need you to go to my house, pack up my clothes… I’ve got a stash of cash…”

“Michael, what is wrong with you?”

“Max! Max, dude, I think I just murdered Kyle.”

“What?!” Max starts yelling into the phone.

There’s rustling.

Isabel appears on the other end. “Max, calm down. Michael’s drunk. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.”

“What the hell is going on, Isabel?”

“Kyle’s fine. He just has a concussion. The doctor said he’ll be good as new tomorrow.”

Color returns to Max.

I breathe a sigh of relief. “We’re coming down there. Where are you at?”

Soon, he’s dragging me out of the house.

We meet the rest of the gang at the hospital.

Alex is passed out along a couch. Michael is contemplating turning himself in to the feds. Maria tries to calm him while Tess is trying not to laugh.

“What happened?” I ask Isabel.

“After the movie, we all went to the bar. The guys got plastered and when we managed to get them to my place, they insisted on having a wrestling match in my living room.”

Now she knows how I feel.

“Michael and Kyle were going at it until Michael did some sort of body slam and Kyle hit his fat ass head on my coffee table. He was complaining of a headache so we just brought him in just in case.”

Max relaxes into a smile. “So he’s alright?”

“As right as he can be,” Tess sighs. “Did anyone call Diane?”

Isabel grimaces. “You think we should?”

“Yeah. Mom will be pissed if she finds out that we didn’t tell her.”

Max leaves to call. I sit next to a half sobbing, half unconscious Michael.

I sigh.

It’s official.

My friends are idiots.
************

Max and I wait outside for the final okay to release Kyle.

“Max, are you going to tell me what you were going to tell me before?”

“It’s not important.”

“Obviously it is. I mean…”

“I’m in love with you.”

“Wha…What?”

There’s complete silence.

“I’m in love with you.”

The entire hospital shuts down.

“That was what I was trying to tell you.” He laughs a little. “I’ve been trying to tell you for awhile now.”

I simply stare.

His head drops.

“Forget it. Just…just forget it.”

My eyes widen. “When you were talking about engagement earlier, you were talking about…” I gesture between the two of us.

He nods. “I know we’re not to that point…”

“Wha… I’m going to get a ride with Maria.”

He nods.

I hurry away.

TBC………

I'll be back Tuesday! Happy Hoildays everyone!
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Be at Peace MJ

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Post by sweetbrowneyes » Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:31 pm

Hey everyone. I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Or if you don't celebrate, a great Monday! :D Thanks for the feedback. I love reading how you guys take what's going on in each part.

mezz
Emz80m
Get Over It

LairaBehr4
irish_girl

ISLANDGIRL5: Yay! Thanks for coming out of lurkdom. Beleive me, I know how hard it is to. lol I hope you stay awhile. :wink:
Earth2Mama
katydid
roswell3053
rie482
guelbebek
Ellie
Dreamer-laure
sprayadhesive
FrenchDreamer
OrangeSky
Mica
Alien614
martine
: Liz didn't break things off with Josh because she was in love with Max, she did it because one, she realized he just wasn't her type, and two, while Josh was looking into a serious relationship with her, she thought it was just a meaningless fling. :)
anonymousarfan
Addicted2AmberEyes
: My mom is doing fine. Thanks :) She got out of the hospital yesterday and is back to driving me crazy as usual lol

On a side note, this first section of this part is what actually spurred the entire story. It's inspired by the season 2 finale of The Office (which is a fabulous show by the way). When Jim confessed his love for Pam. Go Jam!!!

So I hope you all enjoy. :wink:

Part 10

It’s early.

The freaking sun isn’t up yet.

I stumble to the door.

Max.

“Uh…”

“We need to talk.”

I nod and let him in.

We stand in silence until he speaks.

“Look at me, Liz.”

I can’t meet his eyes.

I ran from him.

I abandoned him when he was most vulnerable.

Best friends don’t do that.

He told me he was in love with me.

Best friends don’t do that either.

“Lizzie, look at me.

His eyes are shining.

“This is me. And… and this is what you make me feel like.” He gestures to his appearance.

Shaggy hair, five o’clock shadow, wrinkled, dingy clothes.

“Like a hobo?”

If this wasn’t so serious, I’m sure he’d laugh at that.

“No, like I’ve lost complete control… But like I can do anything I’ve ever wanted to. You bring that out in me.”

“What are you…?”

“Ever since…when I left for college I developed this thing. I… It’s the only way I know how to explain it. It was just a crush. I tried to stop it… tried to be with other girls. But it grew and keeps growing and I can’t help it. I can’t stop it. And when my dad died I… you don’t know how much I needed you but I couldn’t stand not being with you. It killed me because I couldn’t tell you. I stayed away from the one thing I wanted but knew I couldn’t have.”

“What?”

That still dumbfounds me.

“I’ve fallen in love with you. I’ve tried to tell you so many times.”

“I…I…”

“I just needed you to know.”

“What…what do you expect me to say to that?”

He wipes at his eye.

A tear escapes anyway.

“Max, you don’t even know how much you mean to me.”

He smiles a little. “I know. Just not in that way.”

He nods. “This is why I never told you. And why I didn’t move in with you. I can’t be around you all the time and not… I just couldn’t keep it in anymore. I just needed you to know. And hope…”

“Max, I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Liz.”

Tears fill both our eyes.

We fall into silence. Standing awkwardly.

He moves first.

I close my eyes as he kisses my cheek.

“I guess I’ll see you around then.”

I nod with deep dread.

It feels like I’ve just killed my best friend.
**********

“Mom, I don’t know what to do.”

My friends will instigate.

My mom is the first person I called.

“What’d he say?”

“He told me that he was in love with me… said that he needed me to know in case I felt the same.”

“Well sweetie, how do you feel about him?”

I wipe at my damp cheeks.

“I love him. Everyone knows that. He knows that. But he’s Max, my best friend. I don’t feel that way about him.”

“Well then honey, there’s nothing you can do about that. You know I love Max to death, like a son, but if you’re not in love, you’re not in love.”

“Then why do I feel so bad?”

“Liz, you’ve been friends since you were in diapers. You shouldn’t feel bad because you don’t feel the same for him as he does for you. It’s not your fault. And it’s not his either.”

“But how could this have happened? I mean… we’re close but…”

“You’re a beautiful woman, inside and out. I don’t blame him for falling for you. Maybe he sees something in you other than friendship.”

It makes me feel even guiltier.

I don’t see in him what he sees in me.

“He’s such a big part of my life. I don’t want to lose him. This is ruining us, Mom. I don’t want him to love me.”

“Liz, love blossoms when it blossoms. You can’t control it. You can’t help it. Just give it time. Everything will work out.”

I can still see his face.

His eyes.

That pain.

I break into sobs.

“You didn’t see him, Mom. I crushed him.”

I’m afraid I already lost him.
************

One Month later

“Liz, you are coming for Thanksgiving, aren’t you?”

“Yes Tess. You’ve asked my like fifty times.”

She squeals.

I laugh.

“And you’re bringing the ham and macaroni?”

“Yes Tess. I’m walking into the grocery store right now.”

The automatic doors slide open.

It’s like a jungle inside.

“I can’t wait,” she says. “I can’t believe Michael and Maria are homeowners now.”

She’s more excited then they are.

“And not to toot my own horn, but I did a kick ass job decorating. I can’t wait for everyone to go over and see it.”

There are few carts left. The crappy ones.

I grab one with a crooked wheel.

“Well weren’t you supposed to decorate my house like a few months ago?”

“I told you to stop by my office and we’ll start planning.”

“No, I remember specially. We were talking on the phone…”

“Oh man, here we go.”

“…and then Kyle came into the room and you got all hot and bothered…”

She gasps. “I did not.”

“You were panting into the phone, Tess.”

She lets a giggle escape.

She knows she’s caught.

“You told me that you’d call me back. And did you Tess?”

“Um…”

“No. You were getting sexed up.”

She laughs. “Okay. Fine. This time I mean it. How about you come over sometime after Thanksgiving and we’ll get started?”

“I don’t know if I want to,” I tease.

“Come on, Liz. I’ll make your place fabu.”

I laugh. “Fine.”

My cart stalls in the middle of this grocery madness.

There’s a four cart pile up.

One rams my side.

I turn, finding familiar eyes looking back at me.

“Um Tess… I’ll call you back.”

I flip my phone closed.

“Max.”

“Liz, hi.”

“Hey.”

We stare.

It’s been so long.

I miss him like crazy.

He clears his throat.

“Uh… maybe we should move from the middle of the aisle.”

I nod, ignoring the hateful stares from the people behind me.

He rocks on his heels. Sticks his hands in his pockets.

“Um… what are you doing here?” he asks.

“Oh! I was… uh just shopping for Thanksgiving. I’m bringing the ham and macaroni.”

His smile is refreshing.

Man, I miss him.

“Are you going over Michael and Maria’s?”

He shrugs. “I might.” He’s never missed a family gathering. “You?”

I nod.

“I’ve been busy with work so I’m not sure.” I’m not sure if he’s lying or not.

“Oh.”

Silence follows.

“Um…”

“So… maybe we cou…”

“Listen, I have to go so…”

Oh.

I nod. “Right. I didn’t mean to hold you up.”

“No. No, you didn’t. I um… I’ll just…go.” He backs away.

“Right.”

“Yeah.”

“Bye Max.”

“Bye Liz.”

I watch him walk away.

This is what our friendship has become.

Random meetings.

I walk in the opposite direction, wishing I had my best friend back.

TBC……….

I'll be back Friday
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Be at Peace MJ

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